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International Phonetic Alphabet

Middle English Vowel Sounds

Middle English short vowels are generally pronounced the same way English speakers pronounce them today. (I'm generalizing here, since there are hundreds of English dialects in Britain, America, Canada, Ireland, and Australia, you understand.) The short vowels did not go through the dramatic and frightening vowel shift. The Middle English long vowels, however, were quite different. It's easier to understand with examples, so look below. If you have trouble seeing the chart below, you can click here to download and print out a pdf file of this material. Also available is a lengthier version expanded to include international vowels not used in Middle English. Read the various sounds aloud, using the Modern English equivalent to the sound listed in the same words inthe far right-hand column. When you are done looking, click here to move on to a chart showing the Great Vowel Shift.

Click here to download a PDF file of all this material.
Click here to move on to a chart showing the Great Vowel Shift.

 

 
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Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated January 5, 2017. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.